Do you remember your Bible College days? Maybe some of you are currently in Bible College.
I loved being in Bible College. It was an amazing experience for me developing as a disciple of Jesus, and figuring out my call to youth ministry. When I look back to those days, I don’t miss a moment of the courses that I was able to take like Corinthians, Genesis, Old Testament or New Testament overview and many more. These courses were so valuable as I was in Bible College.
Once I graduated and got my first pastoral job, I was really in shock at the things I had to learn that I was never taught in Bible College. It was a steep learning curve, and as a guy who can’t lead worship, I need to learn some really valuable skills to help sustain value in a smaller church.
Here are the 5 things that I wish I learned at Bible College and they are also the 5 things I always tell youth pastors who are at Bible College to learn. I am only saying that you need to learn a skill, you don’t have to be a master at it. You don’t have to be an independent contract. All you really need to know about these 5 things is that you need to know enough to be dangerous.
Graphic Design. You need to learn how to design a poster outside of Microsoft paint. You need to know how to design posters, business cards, other promo. Students are judging your youth ministry by how it looks. I know the sounds shallow, but it’s totally true. That is the same for your church. It needs to look good.
There are programs that I wished my Bible College taught on like adobe illustrator, affinity designer, adobe photoshop, and indesign. I had to learn these on my own, and they have truly served me well.
Social Media. You need to be on social media, and you know how to post things on it well. You need to know the different sizes for posting photos to profiles or cover photos or on your timeline. Again, this is one crucial thing you need to know.
This is easy to learn, but why couldn’t youth pastors be coming out of Bible College as social media experts? These social media accounts are really the front door of your youth ministry. Students are checking your social media accounts and they making judgements on your youth ministry based on what you are posting.
You social media account needs to be consistent, and it needs to look great. You need to know how to use different social media platforms.
Photography. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the pictures you post of your church say more than a thousand words. I don’t know how many church Facebook pages I have seen that display an empty building. People don’t look at that and see themselves in the chairs. They see a empty space.
I would love to know how to take better pictures and what I need to take better pictures. These pictures could go on the social media accounts, or on the website, but taking great photos for backgrounds to worship slides or graphic design is really important. It helps people feel welcome in your church.
Videography. Can I be honest. I suck at video. I have always sucked at making videos. My intern is the man when it comes to filming. I have learned a ton from him. His eye for film is amazing.
I wish I learned how to film on a green screen. How to film with different lighting. How to capture shots that look professional. I have learned a few apps that make me look like a pro, but I really am a hack when it comes to video and video editing. This is a skill that youth pastors need to learn. It’s not just filming, but it’s also editing video.
Website Building. I had a guy come to my church because my churches website looked good. No one ever taught me how to build a website. I had to learn on my own. I am constantly learning still how to build websites.
You church website is the place where people will usually go first. When people get invited to church the first thing they do is go home and creep it online. One of my good friends recently confessed that his churches website was so bad, that he told people to go to their Facebook page.
Whether you build a website on wordpress, or square space. You probably need to know how to use them both (you might not have heard of either ). These are two great platforms that can help your church have a great looking site, if you know what you are doing. If you don’t know what you are doing, it really could cost your church $500-$10,000 depending on how much you value your online presence.
These are all basic skills that youth pastors or pastors should be learning today in Bible College or Seminary. Here is the problem. Your Bible College professors probably did ministry 10-20 years ago, and during that time didn’t have to deal with a digital era. They didn’t have to know Facebook, or instagram. They didn’t have to film videos and edit them to compete in a culture with iPhones that are better than their old computers. They didn’t have to build websites amazing websites. They were from a different time in ministry, and that is great. But, it’s time for Bible Colleges to train and help Pastors succeed in ministry today in a digital world. If your Bible College can’t offer these things, I would recommend spending hours online learning. Buying programs and using them. You can learn these things.
These are all things you need to know. Why? Because I had to invest 1,000 of hours in to these things to help reach people in my community. These things will help reach more people, more students in your area. If you didn’t learn any of these things, now is the time to learn. Now is the time to get some skills that can help add value to your call in ministry.